Artist: Wonky Tonk
Album: Stuff We Leave Behind
Label: Self Released
Release Date: 11/13/2015
They say you shouldn’t judge an album by its cover, but that was the first thing that drew me to Wonky Tonk’s Stuff We Leave Behind. On the cover, Jasmine Lorraine Poole, known as Wonky Tonk, holds up a card with the album title, exposed to the point that only her skeleton is shown, sporting platinum blonde hair reminiscent of an early Lady Gaga. The cowboy boots she wears are the only clue that this is a country album. Wonky is Jasmine’s alter ego, a blue cowboy boot wearing cowgirl who steps in when independent but shy Jasmine needs a little bit of added edge. This album is perfect if you’re a sucker for cool girls who sing country music. She is similar in style to artists like Kacey Musgraves, who write meaningful lyrics with a hint of humor. Wonky Tonk’s songs are filled with sweet, thoughtful lyrics that touch your heart in all the right places. She doesn’t try to be pop, and keeps true to her country roots without sounding dated. Each track is catchy, filled with colorful instrumentals.
The first track on the album, “I’ll Turn the Radio On,” is quirky, just her singing with some background vocals. The off-key vocals have an endearing quality that makes you want to listen to track number two. “Cleveland” opens up with the quippy line, “well you say that I’m just a minor/but you, you’re not getting much younger” showing off Wonk’s playful side, which is then emphasized by the catchy, repetitive chorus of “Let’s run, we’re going home” that is accompanied by a melody that gets stuck in your head far too easily. But, not all of the songs show a happy, funny Tonk. In “Keri On,” she beautifully sings “staying in love is harder than falling apart” in a way that just breaks your heart. Setting the lyrics aside, even the instrumentals are wonderful. “Montague Road” starts off with a more rock sound, but ends up being an indie-country track, and “Saffin Avenue” has a guitar thrown in the end that has its moment to shine.
Wonky Tonk has a voice that’s sweet like syrup, adding a kind of cuteness to the album. Everything about the release is charming, from the cover art to the melodies. However, she does have moments of reflection that are enchanting both lyrically and musically. This Kentucky Troubadour is guaranteed to steal your heart. Wonky Tonk finds herself in the “Indie-Country” category with this album; she’s the kind of country-star that hipsters wouldn’t be embarrassed to say they like, while still keeping deep rooted country fans happy. After listening through each track, you’ll feel enchanted by this off-beat, blue cowboy boot wearing cowgirl.
– Claudia Arnoldo